The Influence Charrette: Exposing and Exploiting Design Bias
The Premise After hosting architecture competitions and charrettes for years, we have observed a multitude of biases that juries subscribe to when it comes to core principles of architectural design and representation methods. Unlike the typical hot-button issues that drive architectural discourse like sustainability or accessibility, these biases are subconsciously implemented, yet they have equal influence on outcomes. For example, we’ve seen that regardless of style, projects that stress certain design principles like repetition and scale are more likely to win competitions. More basically, portrait-oriented images are statistically more favorable to a jury than landscape-oriented images. Perplexingly, we’ve found that gender bias occurs even when an architect’s gender is unknown to a jury. These observations are only the tip of the iceberg. With this charrette, we look to you to help expand upon our findings and formally examine and document these deep-rooted biases and the visual cues and signifiers that trigger them. We do not intend to produce a guide to winning competitions, nor do we aim to promote any specific principles; instead, we believe that a better understanding of these biases is a critical asset to any architect navigating the field.
The Proposal Part competition and part case study, this charrette is broken into two phases. Each phase requires minimal effort from entrants, but participation in both is necessary to win any prize.
Phase 1 – The Competition: Submit the “hero” rendering from a project that most represents your personal design approach towards architecture. School projects, professional work or personal design exercises are all satisfactory. The idea in this phase is to submit a design with the least amount of client or outsider influence. This can be a new image you make for this Charrette or an existing image. There is no limit to how old this project is as long as it is yours.
There will be two separate voting sessions: one by our prestigious jury and one by the Charrette entrants. It is possible to win both the juried vote and the popular vote.
Phase 2 – The Case Study: Entrants and jury members will all take an online survey about the voting process. The survey should take 20-30 minutes. All responses will be anonymous.
Winners of Phase 1 will be announced publicly after both phases are completed. We will produce a publication with our findings from Phase 2. All entries will be highlighted in the publication. All entrants will receive a copy.
Juried Vote + First Place – $1000 + Second Place – $500 + Third Place – $250
Entrant Vote + First Place – $1000 + Second Place – $500 + Third Place – $250
+ It is possible to win prizes in both votes
+ All entries will be highlighted in the publication + All entries will receive a copy of the publication + All entries will be posted on the Reality Cues website
Important Dates Charrette announced: September 15, 2017 Registration/Submission deadline: October 15, 2017 Voting and Survey Phase: October 15 – November 01, 2017 Winners announced: December 01, 2017
Submission Requirements Registration is $50 + S&H for the publication. One entry will be accepted per registration. Group and individual entries are accepted, but only one entry prize will be awarded per each valid registration.
Submissions are to include: + (1) graphic image – 11”x17” / 300 DPI / any orientation / JPG format + Project title + Name of entrant(s) as it should be published
Email your submissions to the Reality Cues Librarian (email@example.com)
It may seem shortsighted to judge such a large set of varied building designs by one image alone without project context, but one last trend we will share is that competitions are won and lost with the main image, the so-called “hero” rendering. No drawing, diagram or supporting text can save a subpar hero image. This is our way of leveling the playing field and focusing on the visual content of images to find out what is hidden within.
The Rules 1. No entrant shall receive or be entitled to receive any payment as a result of a submission or for granting the promoters any right herein or associated with the competition except an award pursuant to the rules herein. 2. Ineligible entrants include any staff or directives of Reality Cues, any jury members and direct employees or relatives. 3. Reality Cues has the right to publish without prior consent all materials submitted to this competition. 4. Submissions shall not be published or made public until after the final submission date. 5. By entering the Competition, any and all entrants agree in full to these Rules. 6. All work submitted for the competition must be the entrant’s original work. It is the entrant’s sole responsibility to ensure that the work submitted does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any third party, including, but not limited to copyright, trademark and design right. 7. The decision of the jury shall be final and binding on all parties, and no disputes shall be entertained. 8. The jury might declare the competition deserted and reject any and all proposals received in response to this competition. Competitors must not communicate with the jury about the competition in any way until a public announcement of the winners is made.